Fife Flyers confirm return of coaches to build team with 'strength in depth'
Fife Flyers have announced the returning of its coaching team for the 2021-22 ice hockey season.
Todd Dutiaume and Jeff Hutchins will be behind the bench when the sport resumes after a prolonged absence due to lockdown.
It will be their sixth season together, with Dutiaume, head coach, continuing in the post he took over after the departure of Mark Morrison. This will be his 17th consecutive season.
The announcement comes after a prolonged silence from the club during lockdown, and effectively signifies the start of the countdown to the news season which is slated to start the weekend of September 25-26.
The club has committed to icing in the EIHL next season, but much of its planning hinges on the outcome of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s August 9 update on any plans to lift restrictions on spectators at indoor event - currently limited to 400.
The club has said it is working on the basis that all restrictions would be lifted to allow fans back rinkside in big number for the opening games.
While that waiting game goes to the wire, the coaches can turn their thoughts to building a team - with an recognition that the 2019-20 team didn’t deliver.
Dutiaume said: “There is no hiding from our performance last time out, so it is so important that we hit the ground running and have a team that is capable of competing night in, night out.”
That was echoed by Hutchins who said: “We hope to build a team with great strength in depth for the coming season that will win games and compete with the very best in the Elite League.
“We have seen in previous years how anyone can beat anyone on a given night, and we need to be at that level every single game night.
He added: “ “I am very much looking forward to returning and putting a team back on the ice in just a matter of months after such a difficult year for everyone involved in the Fife Flyers organisation and around the world in hockey.”
With the coaches announced, the club is expected to unveil signing news over the coming weeks - several teams across the EIHL have already unveiled new names.
Added Dutiaume: “The past year has been incredibly difficult for our loyal fanbase and it will be a special moment when we can hear that unique atmosphere in Kirkcaldy again when the season gets going once more.”